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  • Writer's pictureTina Hill

Author, Author

So, is this really it?! After two years of querying and sending his second manuscript out to literary agents and publishers throughout the US and even some in the UK, Ryan has finally heard from a publisher who WANTS TO REPRESENT HIS BOOK..SOMEONE WHO LOVED HIS STORY!! Yes, you read that right!! #manuscript #publishing #representation #Ryanhill #writingcommunity #booksaga #series #authorauthor

My oldest son, Ryan - writer, English major, and film/screen enthusiast - finished his first manuscript, Barking Madness, in his senior year of high school back in 2014. To say he was devoted to his craft is an understatement. He was very structured with his schedule and set aside a certain block of time each day dedicated to writing. After finishing his manuscript, he then spent a good deal of time (months) editing his book and all during senior year. When he was satisfied with his end result, he sent the first draft our direction to read, review, and give input. We had quite a few beta readers read the book and provide input as well. It seemed we were all happy with the end result. At that point, he registered a copyright for his manuscript and started a Facebook page, He was on his way to success...we were sure of it and so sooo proud...let me just say, I was so amazed my son had completed his first novel as an 18 year old. #student #bookmarketing #facebook #socialmedia #Englishmajor #umass #umassamherst #copyright #betareader

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Barking Madness, in print, selling at a bookstore

The next step would involve getting a literary agent. This is so much easier said than done. Hundreds of books are written on this subject along with blogs. Finding a literary agent is close to impossible. Kind of like finding the holy grail...or fountain of youth. You get my drift? These agents receive thousands of query letters via email per day. If your query is lucky enough to get the attention of even one agent, consider it a miracle. You can spend days, months, years googling samples of query letters and what agents are looking for in a letter, but constructing a query letter to gain agent attention might actually be more difficult than writing the novel itself. With Barking Madness, Ryan sent hundreds of emails out to agents throughout the country. He got the attention of one, but in the end, nothing came of it. #literaryagent #agents #query #queryletter #publishingdeal #lookingformiracles

With that being said, he decided to self publish. He told us he wasn't out to make money, he simply wanted to write. (And here I'm thinking..."Oh my god, another starving artist. Wonderful.") We put the book on Amazon for $3.99 as an ebook, and I went about seeking reviews from book blogs to boost his ratings. In the process, a book reviewer and intern at an indie publishing house in North Carolina told us she loved Barking Madness, and she was going to share it with her editor. Fast forward a week or so, and Ryan had a publishing contract from Pulse Publishing in his inbox detailing his royalty payouts. The editor really enjoyed his book. All seemed like things were right in the world and everything was falling into place. #sowrong #baddeal #indiepublishinghouse #indiepublishing #pulsepublishing #pulse

In our excitement, we really didn't do our homework...and research the indie house, their time in business, and their reviews in general. We knew they were a young company and hungry for YA books. The contract seemed legit, so we were content. In hindsight, I did have an author friend say to hold out for an agent, but we were anxious to move forward, so we ignored that advice. And...we weren't getting any headway with agents, there was that. #yabooks #yafiction #YAagent

At first, things seemed to be moving along nicely. The editor made some minor edits to Ryan's book, a youtube book trailer was made, and the book was back up on Amazon. Knowing what I do now, the minor edits should have been the first red flag. A good editor is going to have a field day with your manuscript and editing should actually be a lengthly process. For the first year, things moved along. We marketed relentlessly and pushed the book on all platforms of social media, but by the end of year, no royalty checks were coming in. Things were not adding up, because at one point, Barking Madness was ranked on Amazon in the 15k range...which is phenomenal. I didn't realize then just how high that is. People were buying his books on Amazon, yet no $$ was coming in. #amreading #amwriting #manuscript #editing #bookmarketing #socialmedia #GradyHarp #Top100 #amazonreviews #halloffame #halloffamereview

Ryan was in, maybe, his third year of college when everything started going downhill with Pulse, and he did not have the time or energy to battle with his publisher. Unfortunately, neither did I, and he was insistent on handling it himself. He was immersed in school studies and wanted to focus soley on that. He said we would revisit Barking Madness's publisher at a later date and deal with them then. As it turns out, Pulse went out of business and that's why we weren't hearing back from them. His book was now in limbo. Fast forward to graduation, and Ryan now said he wanted to put Barking Madness behind him and focus on his new manuscript, which would be a saga. I was pretty upset that he was going to ignore Barking Madness and just drop it. I really believed in his book...I suppose I also devoted a lot of time to it as well. So, you could say I was invested...biased. Even so, I really loved the protagonist, Rosetta, her tragic story, and the dysfunctional teenage squad the story revolved around. As of late, he has mentioned that he will return to Barking Madness for a full re-edit and possible title change...but not until his saga is complete. I do hope he gets his book sorted and back on Amazon...even if it's self-published. #toptenlist #mustread #yalit #yafiction #psychologicalthriller #amazon #kindle #BarkingMadness #publishing #selfpublish

So, back to Novel 2, which I am not going to name until publication contracts are signed. I've read it twice now. The first time Ryan handed it over was upon completion. He's recently given it to me again to read through, as he believes he's edited it to the best of his ability. It's interesting...I've read how author's will edit, re-edit, and edit again...the editing just continues. A lot of writers have a difficult time finishing their just sort of lingers...And I do believe he experienced some of that. But, it's finished and in the hands of a publisher with a bonafide editor on hopefully this is the begining of something wonderful. The second manuscript in the saga should be in my hands within the next few weeks. He's finished writing it but has been working on the editing for months. There is so much more to say, but it really all depends on his publishing deal. We are beyond proud of his creative mind, thoroughness, and disciplined lifestyle. This post does not have an ending. It's a..To Be Continued...

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